Unearthed Arcana – Cleric Divine Domains

Onto the next instalment of Unearthed Arcana: Cleric Divine Domains! If you’ve not already taken a look, check it out here.

I’m quite surprised that we’re doing more Divine Domains (DD) in honesty. The cleric already has so many subclass options, including new ones presented in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, that I thought we were pretty much done and dusted with the cleric. As far as I’m aware all the Gods have a domain which is covered by a subclass of cleric already, so we’ll have to see what WotC have invented here.

(a little note here, they all get domain spells that make sense, and they all get prof with heavy armour, which doesn’t make sense to me. I’m going to mention it here rather than in each DD)

Forge Domain
Seems like a nice idea. We already have the general domains for clerics to fall into, but here (and probably in the other domains) we’ve got some more niche roles to fill. I’m not 100% convinced that this is necessary yet, but we shall see.

 

Blessing of the Forge
This seems OP as anything I have read ever. 1st level, here’s a magic weapon/armour, run with it. Plus it stays around for the whole day. This is also annoying because it gets rid of one of the mainstay loot items to hand to players. Give them a coll sounding sword that’s basically just a +1 sword, and they feel awesome and special because they found some ancient elvish blade. Then Forge-a-matic rolls up with his perma +1 sword and takes all the fun away. This is ridiculous.
Plus the wording is awful. ‘touch one nonmagical object that is a suit of armour or a simple or martial weapon’. Please just say, ‘touch one nonmagical suit of armour, simple, or martial weapon’.

Channel Divinity: Artisan’s Blessing
This ability is better. It’s a ribbon that could actually effect the game in a meaningful way, ie. it’s a great feat to have. My only criticism is that it steps on the toes of some spells, including spells you get access to from picking this DD.

Soul of the Forge
Again, this seems just a touch too powerful to me. Makes you harder to hit, reduces a very common damage type and gives you extra damage. Permanently. Let’s contrast this to the most cliche DD, the Life Domain. At 6th level, they heal themselves, to a MAX of 11HP, when they cast a healing spell on someone else. That’s not even as good as the 1st level ability of this DD.

Divine Strike
The majority of DDs get this at 8th level, so it’s balanced. Not surprisingly, I’m okay with this.

Saint of Forge and Fire
………right. You gain an immunity and more resistances. Probably just as powerful as the War DD, despite the fact you’re supposed to be following a God(dess) of Artisans. Hm.

Overall
This is insane. Previously WotC have done quite well to avoid power creep, but this is just unreal. Every single player should dip 1 level into this subclass. Literally unless you’re maybe a wizard or a sorcerer you should dip. You get a free magic item.
Seriously this is the worst thing I have seen from WotC in a while. Maybe I’m missing something but I can’t even wrap my head around how this has been released. It doesn’t even really fit the theme of a Forge Domain….

Grave Domain
I mean we already have a Life Domain and a Death Domain, do we really need a spooky somewhere between the two domain? I doubt it.

Circle of Mortality
This is a cool ability, it does fit thematically with a bent for creatures close to death in some way, and it is powerful. I don’t think it’s too powerful at low levels, but I am worried about it at higher levels. It’s definitely feasible that you could go from 0 to max hp after one spell. Maybe they should tweak it so that you reroll any 1s and 2s, rather than maxing your dice out.

Eyes of the Grave
Yeah this is a cool ability, kinda similar to Ranger abilities though. When I say kind of similar I also mean nearly identical. Good flavour, but it’s a shame they couldn’t come up with something more original.

Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave
This is thematically very nice, and probably isn’t too powerful as it’s limited by the facty you have to Channel Divinity to use it. I think it’s a pretty good support for a nova round character ie. the paladin. My only criticism is that it’s a lot of words that basically just says double damage on next hit.

Sentinel at Death’s Door
Now this is a cool ability. It’s very powerful, but limited to once per short rest, which makes it viable to play. The flavour of it is awesome, and it is a lifesaver. I also like it because sometimes as a DM I feel really bad for critting characters haha!

Divine Strike
Yes I have heard that clerics get this ability at 8th level.

Keeper of Souls
This ability is also rad. The theme and flavour of it are awesome, you slay a massive creature and some of it’s life-force makes it’s way into you or your ally. Great chance to do a little roleplay, as perhaps the character benefiting from the boost gets a glimpse into the life of the slain foe. Really awesome ability. It’s also not crazy powerful, but it’s definitely strong enough to have a real impact on the game. I’d probably prefer if it was limited to a number of times equal to your WIS mod, but it’s not so powerful that once a turn breaks the game.

Overall
This is a far better DD than the Forge Domain. I’m not sure it’s necessary, and some of the mechanics are redundant or perhaps a little power creepish, but in general I think it’s a cool idea. However, if I’m honest, I just don’t think we need this domain. I’d rather have the Keeper of Souls ability stuck onto a magic item or something.

Protection Domain
This just sounds like a paladin who made an oath with the most generic good guy god you ever heard of. The spells you get are also ones which I typically associate with paladins, and I bet at 8th level it gets Divine Strike which they might as well call Divine Smite here.

Shield of the Faithful
Why are none of these first level abilities limited to a number of times equal to wis mod like every other DD’s 1st level feature? This ability is almost exactly the same as the Light Domain’s 1st level ability but it can be used at will? Why? Cleric’s were working before, why would you just change how the abilities flowed? Eugh.

Channel Divinity: Radiant Defense
Yeah this is kinda cool I guess. Again though I feel like it’s pretty much ripped from the Light Domain… To be honest it’s kinda boring.

Blessed Healer
….are they for real? This is literally the same ability of the Life Domain cleric. What’s the point?

Divine Strike
At this point I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Just kidding I’m crying.

Indomitable Defense
This ability is boring. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it somewhere else but my PHB is too wet with tears for me to find it.

Overall
Bad.

Conclusion
Why was this done? I cannot fathom the reason. I genuinely feel that WotC got to Cleric in the list, realised they’d already done it all, then churned out some absolute travesty just to fill the space. I’d rather they skipped the cleric, or even just went a week without a release.
Not only are these domains rubbish, but there was no call for them. They have tried to force this poop into a saturated market. The Cleric is done. All the domains are filled. These are a disaster. The only cool thing is that soul eating ability. I’m so disappointed by these.
Here would be my suggestion for the domains:
Forge Domain
Go War Domain or maybe Tempest.
Pick up proficiency with Smith’s Tools.
During downtime, make weapons, maybe even magic ones.
Wield a warhammer.

Grave Domain
Pick either Life or Death Domain.
Prioritise your healing on characters on the verge of death.
Roleplay burying the dead after combat.
Talk to your DM about a soul eating amulet.

Protection Domain
Play a paladin.
OR
Play an eldritch knight with the protection fighting style.

If the UA going on are as bad as this has been, I’m going to feel so downtrodden.

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